Functions in mind: a theory of intentional content

Price, Carolyn (2001). Functions in mind: a theory of intentional content. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.



This book investigates what it means to say that mental states -- thoughts, wishes, perceptual experiences, and so on -- are about things in the world. The answer it offers is a novel teleosemantic account of intentional content, grounded in and shaped by a carefully constructed theory of functions. This account centres on the claim that the content of an intentional state depends both on the information that it is supposed to carry and on the way in which it is used -- whether to trigger a simple response, to help keep track of an object or place, to help in planning a route through the environment, or in a sophisticated process of reasoning. Along the way, this account is defended from recent objections to teleosemantic theories, and applied to some notable problems in the philosophy of mind. The book brings together philosophy and biology in order to understand the mind as part of the natural world.

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